The five-act drama “Kathy of Heilbronn” or the “Ordeal by fire” was written from 1807 till 1808 and was first staged in Vienna in 1810. The drama is a historic knight play.
Kathy, the charming and wealthy daughter of a Heilbronn armourer, has found the man of her dreams, Count Strahl – but, sadly, class differences are in the way of their relationship. However, that does not stop the middle-class girl from following, in mysterious devotion, every single step her cherished knight takes. She even allows herself to be humiliated just to be close to him. In the meantime, Count Strahl believes that he has found his bride as foretold in a dream, namely the daughter of an Emperor: Kunigunde von Thurneck, who is befitting his rank. However, Kathy has also had an apparition of an angel at the very same time, who presented her Count Strahl as her husband-to-be.
But before this heavenly prophecy can turn into reality, Kathy must pass an “ordeal by fire”. Towards the end, a final “miracle” happens – Kathy, in truth a child of the Emperor, is led to the altar by the Count.